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regular-article-logo Friday, 23 February 2024

In Chhattisgarh, ‘Modi ki Guarantee’ trumps Congress’ promises of freebies

BJP wrested power from Congress in Chhattisgarh, winning 54 of the 90 seats in the state assembly, while the grand old party got 35 seats, a far cry from the 68 it bagged in the last elections

PTI Raipur Published 04.12.23, 11:16 AM

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Ahead of the Chhattisgarh assembly elections, both the Congress and BJP tried hard to woo farmers, women and the poor with populist schemes.

It seems the promises made by the BJP, which it promoted as ‘Modi ki Guarantee 2023’, worked in its favour as it emerged victorious in the tribal-dominated state.

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The BJP on Sunday wrested power from Congress in Chhattisgarh, winning 54 of the 90 seats in the state assembly, while the grand old party got 35 seats, a far cry from the 68 it bagged in the last elections. The Gondwana Gantantra Party bagged one seat.

In the 2018 assembly polls, the Congress registered a landslide victory largely because of a “strong” anti-incumbency against the then BJP dispensation and the grand old party’s promise of freebies and welfare measures.

As the BJP began its election campaign this time, it faced the herculean task of countering the Bhupesh Baghel government’s pro-farmers, pro-tribals and pro-poor schemes, which the Congress was hoping to retain the state.

Both the parties in their manifestos offered sops to various sections of society.

Much ahead of the elections this year, the Congress declared that the state would procure 20 quintals of paddy per acre from farmers in this kharif season. During electioneering, it promised loan waiver to farmers, also made by it in 2018.

As the poll campaign picked momentum, the Congress came up with a host of promises, including raising the annual financial assistance given to landless labourers under ‘Rajiv Gandhi Bhoomihin Kisan Nyay Yojna’ from Rs 7,000 to Rs 10,000, providing free education from “KG to PG” (kindergarten to post-graduation) and free electricity up 200 units.

It offered more, promising a subsidy of Rs 500 on domestic gas cylinders to women, purchase of tendu leaves per bag for Rs 6,000 and annual bonus of Rs 4,000 to tenu leaf collectors, free treatment up to Rs 10 lakh to the poor, free treatment to victim in road accidents and loan waiver of self-help groups.

Later, these promises were included in the Congress' manifesto, which was launched after the release of the BJP’s document of poll promises. The Congress in its manifesto also promised Rs 3,200 for per quintal of paddy to farmers.

A “weak” manifesto of the BJP was also one of the reasons for the crushing defeat of the party in 2018, according to poll analysts.

However, the Congress was unable to fulfil all the promises it made in 2018.

Keeping the past setback in mind, the BJP this time made populist promises in its manifesto, titled ‘Modi ki Guarantee 2023’ for Chhattisgarh.

BJP’s promises included procurement of 21 quintals of paddy per acre at Rs 3,100 per quintal, annual financial assistance of Rs 12,000 to married women under the ‘Mahtari Vandan Yojana’, construction of 18 lakh houses under ‘PM Awas Yojna’, tendu leaf procurement at Rs 5,500 per standard sack and bonus of Rs 4,500 to leaf collectors and annual assistance of Rs 10,000 to landless farm labourers.

Cooking gas cylinders at Rs 500 each to women from poor families, monthly travel allowance to students for going to college, an ‘ashvasan’ (assurance) certificate worth Rs 1.50 lakh to BPL (below poverty line) families on birth of girl child, free trips to Ayodhya to visit Ram Temple were among other populist promises of the BJP.

Amid reports of BJP’s Mahtari Vandan Yojna gaining popularity among women, Baghel on Diwali (November 12) promised to launch ‘Chhattisgarh Gruha Lakshmi Yojana’ under which women were promised to be given a financial assistance of Rs 15,000 annually.

According to political experts, BJP’s Lok Sabha poll prospects in the state might be impacted if it doesn’t move swiftly to implement the promises.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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